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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

314                  MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

lips with a fierce vowel like a red tongue shooting between them,
Mann's most penetrating use of psycho-analysis is perhaps in the
short tale Unordnmg undfrubes ~Leid (1926), in which a baby of a girl
falls sick with erotic feelings for an adult: Prince Charming in a
fairy-tale up to date. The self-irony of a criminal in Bekenntnisse des
Hochstaplers Felix Krull (1938) serves as a variant of Mann's usual
contrast of normality with artist morbidity, and expands the thesis
hinted at in Tonio Kroger that there are affinities between artistry
and criminality. A fragment of the Krull tale had been published
in 1922; it was added to in the edition of 1954 (Der Memoiren erster
7>/7). As we have it now it is a picaresque novel in the sense of the
English eighteenth century. Another story long known to exist
was made available in 1931, but in French only, as Sang reserve. It
is a translation, published in Paris, of Wdlsungenblut^ of which there
had been a privately printed edition (1922) for the author's friends.
This more or less suppressed tale served the Nazis as a stick to
beat the author with: two Jews, they point out, twin brother and
sister, commit incest on a bear-skin in the brother's bedroom after
attending a performance of Wagner's Walkure.

In Hermann Hesse's Nar^iss und Goldmund the dualism of flesh
and spirit is presented as two separate halves which are neverthe-
less one: for even abstract ideas, as Goldmund with his concrete
vision points out, are sensuous images; the mind cannot reason
save by sense; the immaterial is only an image of the material. In
Thomas Mann's great series of four novels Joseph und seine Cruder
(Die Geschichten Jaakobs, 1933; Der junge Joseph>, 1934; Joseph in
JELgypten, 1936; Joseph derErndhrer^ 1942) Joseph is flesh and spirit
in one; in him the flesh is sanctified by the divine law, but the
spirit is in control of the flesh, and this by the consciousness of
consecration to the higher life. Thomas Mann's purpose in this
immense work is, therefore, as moral and 'cultural' (to use a Nazi
word) as possible; and there is Nazi doctrine in the detailed account
of the Nordic wandering of first culture, including the solar myth,
from Atlantis. What is not Nazi doctrine is the demonstration that
higher culture - the consciousness of mind (Geisf) - is historically
Jewish, and that culture really is the sublimation of the sense of
duty as obedience to those instincts of refinement which sunder
man from brute. Thomas Mann in these volumes interprets history
- and therefore life - as an eternal recurrence (ewige Wiedtrkehr^
p, 102) of myth, which is in origin a symbolization of nature pro-